I remember when I first started with the Institute of Children’s Literature back in 1997, what they told me to write in my profile was about my “writing life.” I’m guessing that’s what new writers are most interested in, right? What’s it like to be a professional writer?
Back then, I had tons of articles already published and a few short stories. And I wrote them all while my daughter was growing and developing mentally. Let’s face it in early 1997, she was only seven years old and in first grade. So, I used what I was learning about writing to choose the right books for her that would teach her about the world.
She was already used to Mom “working,” as that’s what I called my one hour a day. Working. You have to think of it like that, even if you’re just starting out. Writers write, period. If you write, you’re a writer and you’re “working” whenever you’re researching or writing. You need to keep this mindset if you want to succeed.
Use what you know to start. (I’m sure you’ve heard that before.) But think about all the different topics you might find yourself expert in. Perhaps you have a job that people are interested in learning more about. Or, you have hobbies that people can relate to. Or, you’re an animal lover and want to write about your cats. Whatever it is, start there. You’ll be much more comfortable.
And just write. Take one hour a day and get anything down on paper or into your computer screen. The act of doing it will spur you on further. But don’t edit as you write! That is shooting yourself in the foot. The writing really is in the rewriting. Get what’s in your brain out first and then, shape it to be what you want.
If you find it difficult to write or type your thoughts out, use a voice recorder and talk your thoughts out. You can get someone else to transcribe what you’ve said. But talk for an hour, every day, until you have something worthwhile.
Then, spend your daily hour on rewriting your article or story, and that’s really where you should start — with short pieces. Build some credentials with published work, and selling that book inside your brain will be much easier. Just commit to that one hour a day.